Remote sensing can make the life of farmers easier and faster
Currently, remote sensing data makes itself useful to farmers by helping detect problem areas on the field. However, satellite, drone and radar data offer many more innovative ways to make the life of farmers easier and faster. Current and future opportunities were discussed at the seminar about remote sensing applications in agriculture, organized within the "RITA" remote sensing project on November 11.
Agricultural holdings and larger farms highly benefit from remote sensing applications. As maps offer information for detecting the problem areas of a field, agronomists don't have to walk through the fields and can work out problems sooner. Remote sensing also allows them to see the history of the field – what was growing here four years ago, and how well?
Just recently, the means for the automatic planning of crop rotation have been developed. Currently around 90% of farmers only have a crop plan for a year. Automatic planning will take into account different arable crops, the field's history, laws, agronomical rules of thumb as well as the written requests of farmers. Besides that, it will work on optimising logistics. This way, plans could be made for five years.
Farmers hope that in the future, all data gathered by instruments like tractors could easily be used on all platforms that offer agricultural services. They also dream of solutions that would harmonise harvest maps, factor more of soil maps and meteorological data in, and use satellite data, or radar data in case of cloudy weather. They also believe local weather stations to have a future.
At the seminar, members of KappaZeta, Terake, eAgronom and Baltic Agro shared their experiences as entrepreneurs offering remote sensing solutions. Opportunities and problems through the eyes of farmers were discussed by Sander Hiire and Madis Ajaots. The topic of grassland checks was discussed by Kai Raudvere from the Agricultural Registers and Information Board (PRIA). Kalev Sepp and Kai-Yun Li from the Estonian University of Life Sciences demonstrated how drones could be used in agriculture. The event took place in Tartu Observatory, Tõravere (with a limited number of participants) as well as online via MS Teams.
Everyone can see the recording of the seminar and the presentation materials at http://kaugseire.ee (in Estonian).